cor, a really fun subject, and so much intelligent conversation instead of the usual windows bashing. great to see it guys, my faith in the risc os community has been restored.
gotta take a look at schools today and ask what they are trying to achieve when they use computers in classrooms. we can't fault their chioce of wintel boxes for many reasons, as mentioned in articles above and i'll have a go below too.
we know that the clone boxes are a nightmare to keep running, close to a third are going to need replacement hardware due to parts faliure in their useful lifetimes - not including upgrades to keep them running new software. the software is absolutely diabolic to use, and that really is being nice to windows. it has just about reached a point where it is neceassary to retrain people how to use each newer windows version - 3d desktop in longhorn - how's that going to be different to xp that you've all learned to use this year ? the cost of support for each box is far above the initial purchase price of any computer on a desk, so buying cheap rubbish makes sense, even a genuine ibm is going to cost hugely to support if you clog it with windows. and then there are companies like apple, who are big enough to offer schools deals where it works out that every fifth computer is essentially free with the education discount they offer. unless we find about 100k users out there to buy a new $3000 (sorry, couldn't find the quid key on my pc keyboard to make that 1250 pounds) iyonix + risc os, castle isn't going to be able to offer schools competitively priced iyonixs ?
today, you also have to consider that when you leave school, are you more likely to get a job sitting behind the keyboard of a computer using risc os, os x, or windows ? the computers used in schools manage to fill two roles. the software used for education purposes is readily available now for windows - despite some clearly american leanings, and at the same time, little johnny learns how to use a computer/os that he is most likely to run into in the real world. he's just got trained up for his new boss for free.
perhaps if the initial push by acorn had included getting bbc/archimedes boxes into industry as well as the education market i'd not have said the last bit there
again the market for risc os is recognised as being too small for speedy development of software/drivers/os/hardware for the diverse range of add ons out there. i thought whichever company it was that started to develop an isa interface for the risc pc had lost the plot. isa was already old hat and pci was starting to look pretty sad for a pc too (132MB/sec was pretty bland a couple of years back i remember speccing a machine for video edititng, the bus couldn't manage firewire to disc in that bandwidth, so it was finally sold without ide raid, just some very fast av drives to drop the transfer rates). well, we have pci now, finally, as pci and agp are about to be replaced with pci-express - it will take a while, i appreciate, and after it does there are going to be some great deals on cheap secondhand pci cards for risc os users. but how are you going to recommend a new system to somebody when you tell them their upgrade options are yesterdays technology ? risc os systems seem to have a lifespan of 10 years at each generation. a cpu in the wintel world has been introduced, revised, upgraded, and phased out twice in this timeframe, and the support hardware with it seems to take even less agp 1x anybody ? nah, 8x mate. probably becuase there are so many companies trying to get ahead of the others in the pc world this rate of advance is acceptable, but no small market can keep up.
we also have a problem, as identified, that microsoft put their name on everything in their operating system, (like csv), so the school children grow up not knowing any better that microsoft did NOT invent the wheel or fire. (some quite, i forget who to blame it on - "he who controls the past, controls the future")
if anybody is going to save risc os and iyonix, it's the userbase. we have to put our old machines in the closets and back castle and friends with the purchase of new hardware and software. until we are using them out here, schools will not go back to using risc os. it would be great to have a risc os laptop (without windows beneath it) that i could e_mail, spreadsheet and otherwise wave under the noses of my co-workers each time their boxes freeze up on another virus or bug, but we all know what happens to companies that try to make risc os laptops.
still, i'm old fashioned enough to say - take computers out of schools and tach children how to read, write and flamin well add/subtract - which seems sadly lacking in the service industry today - another gripe ;op